#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/07/24

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WRITING:

Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMoTweeting updates with @JulNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo. Every Friday until September 21st, I’ll be writing update posts for WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER.

Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July: 60,170 words

Totals from April, June, and July: 224,029 words

 

Headway on the outline revision and HOPEFULLY steering this ship in the right direction. Believe it or not, it’s okay to be excited and terrified at the same time. I am and I’m okay with that. 🙂

This next bit goes in my unofficial Edification Category, but it falls under the WRITING umbrella:

1) I’ve taken part in Savvy Authors Summer Hike hosted by the wonderful Cathy Yardley and it’s another great way to have ongoing support and accountability as I achieve my writing goals. Since I surpassed the 50K word count goal awhile ago, I decided to spend the rest of the month revising my outline. It’s going to be like playing Jenga or Tetris with words. [SIDEBAR: I looked up the proper links to associate with the games and found this. Amusing, considering my previous sentence. I had no idea it existed.]

August, rather than WriMo myself into a black hole of Writer’s Burnout, I’ll give myself a little extra time to make sure my outline is solid. It’s something I’ve never quite done in previous WriMos. I shall not pants my plots anymore. Not even Bermuda shorts. I need to be rigid to ensure a smoother writing experience. My goal is to write and polish the first fifty pages of the novel by September 1st. That’s 12,500 and far less pressure on myself than I’ve been dousing since the start of the year.

2) I went back to that scary wildebeast of an assignment. There’s still a ways to go yet but I’m making progress in the outline’s refinement. Progress is always a good thing.

 

There are other activities and challenges that I’ve taken up and I’ll post updates in the next couple of posts. Good things ahead because it’s all things writerly.

 

READING:

Currently reading:

FLIPPED 331920     THE SPARK 15798364

Next up:

WIRED FOR STORY 13126099     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432 

(Although, I have read a few pages of each to get a taste of what’s to come.)

  

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 9

Non-Fiction: 3

 

Not freaking out that I haven’t finished a book yet this week. I have my own to work on. I’ll be a Beta Reader for fellow writers’ manuscripts and I think that’s an interesting endeavor. I’ve done it in the past and it helped me appreciate the skills I’ve learned and honed, as well as appreciating a story as a reader. I say this counts as as part of my reading challenge. I’ll be pulling double duty because there will be edits and critiques involved. Reminds me of a teacher who asked me if I wanted to be an editor. I certainly wouldn’t mind. These tasks, reading and editing, they’re just a couple of ways for me to improve my own writing.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING):

Check-ins on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness continue every Monday In July. I’m a newbie compared to how long my fellow WIPsters have been at the grind. This week we celebrate book deals, query submissions, and just getting the words on the page. We should all be proud of our efforts. Three Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and four Mid-Week Check-Ins, so far.

I’ve been on the lookout for insightful articles and websites for my FRIDAY FORAGE series. I’m not sure if I’ll post them during my summer writing challenge but it couldn’t hurt. The interwebs are a cornucopia of knowledge. I’m enjoying the scavenger hunt, so far.

 

OTHERS:

Duolingo is something I’m going to take a peek at on the weekends.

Speaking of… staycations. Weekend getaways either geographically or just in your own backyard. I highly recommend them. Get this, after the zany non-stop action with The Keysmashing Tots, you’ll never guess… I. Had. Fun.

Unbelievable, I know. But fun was to be had, rest was taken, my eyes, my back, my carpal issues. Come Monday (technically. Sunday night when I got back to the tykes), I had renewed energy and out of the gate, the words flowed with more ease than in the last fortnight. As part of my writing goals for the summer, I decided that, come August, I’ll take the weekends off, or at the very least, keep Saturdays as a catch-up buffer day, but Sunday is a writing-free day.

Did I mention how highly I recommend this?

 

How’s your July 24th?

Week in Review – 2013/07/15 – 2013/07/21

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WRITING:

Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMoTweeting updates with @JulNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo. Every Friday until September 21st, I’ll be writing update posts for WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER.

Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July (as of yesterday):  52,984 words

Totals from April, June, and July (as of yesterday): 216,843 words

I aim to tackle that writing assignment again in the workshop that helped me see the error of my ways. I also have more specific goals to outline as it pertains to another writing group’s summer session. When those are up and running, I’ll post them here.

At the very least, my goals for two out of three writing challenges have already been met as I’ve exceeded the 50K word count I set for myself this month. I’m going to spend the rest of the month restructuring my plot outline to make sure that the scenes I wrote fit organically and that my character and overall story GMC is ironed out. Next month, I’ll work on my revised plan. More preparation, less stress, I think that’s a better combination for what my schedule is looking to be for the next few months.

READING:

Here’s what I read this week:

22232     lovestargirl

Currently reading and on deck:

FLIPPED 331920     WIRED FOR STORY 13126099     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432     THE SPARK 15798364

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 9

Non-Fiction: 3

The numbers aren’t bad considering I’m unofficially taking part in the 30 Books in 90 DaysSo far, I’m ahead of schedule in that regard. The good thing, too, is that all the reading has helped with my plotting issues in my current WIP. The reading continues.

SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING):

Check-ins on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness continue every Monday In July. Three Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and three Mid-Week Check-Ins, so far.

My FRIDAY FORAGE was–to me, at least–shining, shimmering, and splendid. The week began on a low point and ended much better for me. With everything happening with my writing and home life, it’s good to remind myself that it’s okay for goals to change, to make certain adjustments here and there as life throws those ever-loving curveballs at us. The end goal remains the same, it’s just the method of getting there that changes.

OTHERS:

Duolingo is going to have to wait awhile longer while I fix my WIP glitches.

On the upside, this weekend involved a cleansing staycation at a hotel and I was treated to a much needed massage. It’s nice to have getaways with the Mothership and Sisterhood. Two days now without diapers and the children’s voices and scampering about were of those I didn’t know. It’s like I’m in a different country but the brain is recharging and the excitement to write is returning. Tomorrow–or rather, tonight–is already the start to another intense week, but I think I’m better prepared for it this time.

Tonight, the weekend ends with the Sisterhood and I taking part in a feast of fowl, a banquet of birds. Seriously. According to the blurb from the restaurant, we’ll be dining on 8 birds served 13 different ways.

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Is the eighth bird chicken? They didn’t even show the eighth bird, why?! Please be chicken. Egads. I think the only chicken at this dining experience will be me. Here’s to new experiences, right?

FRIDAY FORAGE – 2013/07/19

WEEK FOUR: WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER

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Greetings, gentle reader.

Recall, if you will, my earlier posts, my desire to chronicle the progress and pitfalls of my writing journey. In the week since my last FORAGE, I’ve found myself making a little progress, but for the majority, I thought I’d joined Westley in the

Now, now. You’re probably thinking that my Fractured Tales Series has gone the way of the Dodo, but that’s not true, at all. In fact, I’ve blissfully used the term “drawing board adjacent”. I just needed to take a breather from all the words I was writing and actually look at the meaning behind them.

I get that we’re supposed to reach certain word counts and while that’s admirable, it’s also necessary stay on track. This is where my cookie crumbled. In my flexibility to adapt, I took way too many aspects and the story grew to a complexity that rivals those terrifying algebra test questions that never seem to end.

It took one of the more advanced workshops for me to wrap my brain around the tiny smudge that was daring to become a major plot abyss. I got caught up in all the bells and whistles of what my novel could be that I failed to listen to that bell’s first toll.

To help clear my head, I continued reading books from my TBR list to help inspire me or at least dig around in my brain to find the initial spark that ignited my passion for this WIP in the first place. I was brought back to STARGIRL and its follow-up LOVE, STARGIRL by Jerry Spinelli. I’ve always loved MG and YA books. My WIP is of the YA persuasion although it’s set in a fantasy world. Spinelli draws us into an ordinary world and weaves in ordinary people who do ordinary things and yet, find themselves in sometimes extraordinary circumstances. I will say that Stargirl herself is an extraordinary ordinary character. Not fantasy but I saw the connection of how it could help me see my WIP in a different light. I could see the spark in the distance. It called out to me like an old friend asking how I’d been.

After we got the ‘Long time, no see’ small talk out of the way, I realized that I needn’t overwhelm myself in the drafting process. At the heart of any story, from the most plain to the most complicated, there lies a simplicity that resonates with the reader and it helps them get from Point A to Point B as they turn the page. I’m not saying that simplicity is the same thing as an easy process. No, I’ll have to dig deeper, all the way to the root of my overgrown plot line tree. If I don’t overwhelm myself, I won’t overwhelm the reader. It’s a win-win.

So, what have I learned from all this? What does X equal?

X = the beginning

X = the heart of the story

X = the reason why I wanted to write this story and share it with the world

X = reassessing my strategy

X = not giving up.

I continue the words. I continue the climb. The story’s not over yet. Literally. And now that I’ve gotten over the doldrums–my self-doubt and second guessing have since left the building–I can reconnect with my goals and get back on the path of creating something wonderful. It’s not so much a pitfall as it is a pitstop. If I were in the Indy 500, I’d need to make sure that everything was in good working order throughout the entire race. I think this week, as busy as it was outside of writing, has helped me reevaluate the importance of seeing the bigger picture and not being afraid to change course along the way. The path might have some unexpected twists and turns, but the destination remains the same for this writing journey.

Buckle up.

On your mark, get set…

Write.

FRIDAY FORAGE – 2013/07/12

WEEK THREE: WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER

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Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July: 33,357 words

Totals from April, June, and July:  197,206 words

I have the following book titles for the Series and currently reworking Bk1 after separating a subplot to Bk2. The third book is just ideas, at the moment:

BOOK 1: AARALYN’S SONG (FORMERLY BOOK 1: HAMELIN)

BOOK 2: THE CURSE OF BRIAR ROSE

BOOK 3: AND THEN THERE WERE SEVEN

So, you know how too much of a good thing can also be a bad thing? Welllllll… okay. It’s like this. How can I not be enamoured with all the possibilities that a fairytale universe provides? I’ll have story ideas, plots, subplots, and character mash-ups to last me a year. HOWEVER, as the saying goes, I think I really need to divide and conquer on this one. Yes, so many twists and turns are great. The new takes on old favorites (good and evil) are a joy to write, but I need to maintain a streamlined flow of ideas and not get ahead of myself. <– this is my self pep talk.

Yo, Self! Are you listening? Write the story that wants to be told and stop listening to all the whispers. Each character will have their time to shine–if they’re worthy! haha That’s another thing. I need to put the brakes on the characters. Here are just a smattering of mashed-up and/or retweaked characters I have so far in Book 1 (and I’m not even including minor ones). If I add the rest I have for the series, I’ll run out of bandwidth!

Aaralyn – inspired by the Pied Piper

Jaron – her father, abdicated his position as Heir to the Throne of his Kingdom, currently living in Hamelin, a town far, far away

Caleb – her brother, taken by a group of thieves who attack Hamelin

Melantha – her mother (and rogue witch, but I’ve recently revamped her and am considering, ugh, more on that in a later blog post)

The Old Woman – lives in a gingerbread house and nurses Aaralyn back to health after an ambush that results in Caleb’s abduction

Jack – forced to kill giants because an unknown group holding his sister Jill hostage. Killing giants at their behest is to keep her alive.

Ali Baba – a boy who first appears to Aaralyn in a dream, then when the town is under attack; currently cursed as a magic carpet

Morgiana – a friend of Ali who was once a fairy, but was cursed as a genie in a lamp

Robin of Locksley/Sheriff of Nottingham – this mash-up is inspired by my love for Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, he’s Aaralyn’s godfather and Jaron’s best friend

Queen Aerwyn – Jaron’s mother; formerly a mermaid, chooses mortality for the love of a human,

King Brage – Jaron’s father, who’s currently at war with Aerwyn’s father, the King of the Water realm for, you know, the whole forbidden love thang

Rapunzel – has a bad history with both Aaralyn’s family but more recently with Jack. She’s a magical water creature and her hair is actually tentacles. She can change her form for certain periods of time.

Merlin – a wizard who is an old friend of Robin (and taught him a few tricks)

Nimue – another water creature but she’s allies with Aaralyn’s family

Okay, new plan. I can do that, right? I’m halfway through Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMo and I’m pretty sure I’ll hit 50K by midweek, if not before. Since this is an ongoing journey, as is the entire WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER challenge, I say yes.

1) I’m enjoying this exploration of characters but I need to really hone in on the story I want to tell first.

2) As much as I enjoy discovering connections between events in Book 1 to an story arc in Book 3, I should focus on getting out all the words of Book 1 first. Well, duh. I know it’s an obvious statement and yet…

3) I must spend time analyzing the characters I have and make sure they have a solid purpose in Book 1 that helps move the story forward. I don’t want to have them there just because I think their new mashed-up version is cool. I’m thinking of writing side story novellas to complement Book 1. BUT THEN PLEASE REFER BACK TO #2. One beast at a time, no?

4) My flexible plotting needs to be less flexible. I’ve always loved structure with wiggle room, but I don’t want to wiggle onto a different tangent. I need to spend a day–sans The Keysmashing Tots, so that means tomorrow–and go over all the key points of the book and make an outline that flows towards a resolution rather than branches out into a world of possibilities. REMEMBER: A standalone novel with series potential. The story should be complete in and of itself, regardless of what I think may happen beyond the words THE END.

5) Don’t sweat over it too much. I tend to overthink things and end up getting the blahs when I’d rather be having the YEAHS! (That made sense, right? I’m sure you know what I mean.)

So that was me this week. A frenzy of words, both written and read (I’ve been reading up a storm for a different challenge) and a frenzy of activity with The Keysmashing Tots. So much for having Saturday to completely veg out. Have you seen the list I just wrote for myself above?

Ah, the writer’s life. I’m such a masochist. ;-P

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/05/15

The month is half gone. Before I know it, I’ll be hearing Christmas carols on the radio. These past couple of weeks, I tried something different. I’ve been offline more than on and, despite missing the online writing community (and, admittedly, falling behind in my workshops), it’s been a refreshing experience.

I’ve missed the analog world. Even though not everything was a leisurely pursuit, the simple fact of kickin’ it old school gave my brain and digits a much needed rest after such an intense write-a-palooza. The timing is nice, too, because July’s Camp NaNo is creeping up fast. I’d like to spend the next two weeks in continuous planning, worldbuildling, & drafting mode for my fairytale series but at a much less intense pace as April.

For the month of June, I’d like to get organized and truly prepare for Camp. Previous instalments had my prep going from a few days to just under a week. While I’ve won every NaNo I’ve joined, I think I can achieve so much more with some solid organization–with room to play, of course. And by play, I mean wiggle room, not actual play, though, fun is to be had but this tangent has fallen off another tangent…

Anyhoo, onto the Reading Challenge. THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham and THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann. Two very different books and with characters from very different realities. Since, my writing has fallen in the realm of fantastical, as of late, I find myself immediately drawn to the peculiarities of THE PECULIAR. Add to that, a Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family that we had playing in the background of our hotel while in Seattle this weekend. I’m really digging the genre and hope I can sink my teeth into something special with my upcoming fairytale series. THEODORE BOONE, however, is slightly different. I’m having a bit of trouble connecting with the narrative voice. I’m still chugging through it as the plot is interesting but I hope I find some emotional pull to the characters soon. Of course, more on these books in Monday’s post for the #middlegrademay check-in on Deb Marshall’s site.

Until Sunday, fellow #ROW80 friends, Happy Hump Day and see you on the weekend!

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